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Accepting help and support — Is this only something for “sick” people?

Most of us have heard of peo­ple going to a psy­chol­o­gist or under­go­ing psy­chother­a­peu­tic treat­ment. If we are not one of them, we may be hap­py about it at first. We may even dis­tance our­selves from these peo­ple and think that we are not “sick” and that it will nev­er hap­pen to us. But is that real­ly the case? Do we have to be diag­nosed as “ill” to be able to make use of a help offer and profit from it?

Mentally ill — a diagnosis

In our health sys­tem it works like this: only those who are diag­nosed as “men­tal­ly ill” receive pro­fes­sion­al sup­port in the form of psy­chother­a­py financed by the health insur­ance. A doc­tor or trained psy­chother­a­pist can diag­nose a per­son with, for exam­ple, a depres­sive episode, an anx­i­ety dis­or­der or a per­son­al­i­ty dis­or­der on the basis of pre­cise cri­te­ria in a man­u­al for men­tal ill­ness. Thus, the diag­no­sis and the dis­ease con­cept are always the most impor­tant fac­tors for receiv­ing sup­port. There­fore, the assump­tion that peo­ple who go to a psy­chol­o­gist are sick is still very common.

Support only for the “sick”?

But what about all the peo­ple who find them­selves in dif­fi­cult phas­es of life, who are con­front­ed with chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tions or who are unhap­py or dis­sat­is­fied for var­i­ous rea­sons? Can’t such peo­ple also use support?

Per­haps you have expe­ri­enced this your­self: some­times in our lives we are con­front­ed with sit­u­a­tions that are more dif­fi­cult for us to mas­ter than oth­ers. This can also hap­pen quite unex­pect­ed­ly. We lose a loved one, expe­ri­ence an acci­dent, or sud­den­ly a big argu­ment devel­ops in the fam­i­ly that is not so easy to solve. Or we notice that we are dis­sat­is­fied with some­thing, but don’t know how to change it.

Why don’t you think about what you do in sit­u­a­tions that you can’t han­dle on your own? For exam­ple, what do you do when you want to assem­ble a wardrobe but you don’t have the right screw­driv­er? — Maybe you ring your neigh­bour’s door­bell and ask if he has the right screw­driv­er. If you then get it, you will prob­a­bly have the new wardrobe in your room a few hours later.

So we ask oth­er peo­ple for help. And in fact, this usu­al­ly leads to us achiev­ing our goal. If that works, why should­n’t we accept sup­port when we face men­tal challenges?

Every one of us can use support

For each of us, accept­ing sup­port can be use­ful and help­ful at cer­tain points in our lives. We don’t always have all the right tools at hand to cope with sit­u­a­tions or expe­ri­ences in the best pos­si­ble way and to man­age to come out of them stronger on our own. Nor is it nec­es­sar­i­ly easy to work on our behav­iour, expe­ri­ence or think­ing and change some­thing about it. When we realise that we can­not reach our goal on our own, this is a good time to accept support.

The dif­fer­ence between men­tal chal­lenges and oth­er every­day prob­lems is that a neigh­bour or a friend can­not always help us. Because even they may not have the right tools. Psy­chol­o­gists, coun­sel­lors or coach­es, how­ev­er, have a whole tool­box from which they can search for the right tools for you and show you how best to use them.

Accepting support, recognising resources, using them in a solution-oriented way.

When we accept sup­port, for exam­ple from a psy­chol­o­gist, it is not about hand­ing over respon­si­bil­i­ty to that per­son. Rather, the psy­chol­o­gist will help us to find out what we need so that we can feel bet­ter again. Ulti­mate­ly, how­ev­er, we our­selves are the ones who have to imple­ment the change.

We all have resources and strengths that we can use to deal with dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions. But we are not always aware of them. Some­times we are so caught up in our habits and thought pat­terns that we do not even con­sid­er alter­na­tive assess­ments and behav­iours. An objec­tive view from the out­side can open up new pos­si­bil­i­ties that we have not thought about before. We can then use the new tools and pos­si­bil­i­ties in a solu­tion-ori­ent­ed way to active­ly work on our sit­u­a­tion and our Befinden.

“Healthy” people have to pay — a disadvantage?

If we look for a psy­chol­o­gist, coun­sel­lor or coach on our own, we nat­u­ral­ly have to pay the costs our­selves. The deci­sive advan­tage here, how­ev­er, is time­ly inter­ven­tion, in the best case even pre­ven­tion. In this way, it is very like­ly that we can pre­vent a men­tal ill­ness from man­i­fest­ing itself in the first place, that we need lengthy ther­a­peu­tic treat­ment or that we are unwell for a long peri­od of time. With an ear­ly response, just a few ses­sions can be enough to deci­sive­ly improve your sit­u­a­tion and your Befin­den. You can con­tin­ue to use the tools giv­en to you inde­pen­dent­ly and return to them again and again in the future.

Mon­ey invest­ed in our health does not only pro­vide us with a good feel­ing in the short term. Address­ing our men­tal and emo­tion­al state, our eval­u­a­tions, thoughts and behav­iours can help us achieve greater well-being in the long term. If we invest mon­ey in our phys­i­cal health, or in oth­er things that are good for us, then we should invest just as much mon­ey in our men­tal health. After all, togeth­er with phys­i­cal health, it forms a deci­sive basis for our qual­i­ty of life.

Accepting support: a sign of strength and willingness to change

So be brave and seek sup­port where you need it. There are now count­less ways to access sup­port ser­vices. There are psy­chol­o­gists, coun­sel­lors and coach­es with the most diverse spe­cial­i­sa­tions on the mar­ket. The num­ber of online offers is also grow­ing, which can be used espe­cial­ly for short-term coun­selling and solu­tion-ori­ent­ed sup­port. The wide range of offers gives you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to choose some­one who can help you in your per­son­al sit­u­a­tion in the best pos­si­ble way. You are also wel­come to take a look around our pool of coun­sel­lors. Per­haps you will find a coun­sel­lor there who is right for you.
 It is a great strength when we admit that we can­not man­age some­thing on our own or when we decide to work on our­selves. Self-reflex­ion and will­ing­ness to change are the first impor­tant steps towards pos­i­tive devel­op­ments and a high­er qual­i­ty of life in the long term.



Lina Malessa 

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